Sri Lanka Police DIG Ajith Rohana warned public against circulating social media and WhatApp / Viber posts that seek to incite communal or religious tensions amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. The DIG said the Police were probing more than nine such posts now in circulation. The Police would deal harshly with any attempt to smear any particular community or communities by way of circulating falsehoods and hate speech. Several persons are already in custody for similar offences, he said.

Police warning against posts inciting communal hatred

Police urged social media users not to create, share or forward such videos / posts and also fake news / rumours regarding Coronavirus / COVID-19. Any attempt to create panic or anxiety among the public will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under the law. The use of social media and video conferencing has grown exponentially in Sri Lanka and around the world as people share information on the pandemic and reach out to their friends and relatives and also work from home.

Fact checking organizations and individual fact checkers around the world are fact-checking some viral fake and misleading coronavirus stories on social media. They have been already debunked many such coronavirus fake news and false claims.

In Sri Lanka 17 suspects arrested by Police Criminal Investigations Department for spreading fake news on Coronavirus (COVID-19) through social media. Two woman, have been arrested so far on charges of spreading fake news on COVID- 19 via social media. Police to take strict legal action against those who spread fake news. Fact Crescendo Sri Lanka fact-checking organization has debunked most of fake and misleading coronavirus news on social media.

Below such hate speech posts debunked by fact-checkers.

A claim shared that the ruler of Sharjah UAE, banned burials of people who died after contracting the coronavirus. The claim is false; the UAE Embassy in #SriLanka refuted the claim. Via AFP

Did Muslims gather into a mosque during curfew and obstruct officials?. No. They didn’t. Via Citizen

Water flowing in a Bangladeshi river turn red with blood of Buddhist murdered in 1992 ? No. This image was an incident happened in Ghana 2017 when a local manufacturer had poured dye powder chemicals into KoForidua river. Via Factcrescendo

Social Media reported that Covid19 recovered patient roaming around Puttalam. But it is false. He did not roam around Puttalam. Via factcrescendo

Claim that “Maradana Police issued a traffic fine sheet for a Buddha statue placed inside a vehicle” is FALSE. Via Factcrescendo

Social Media posts claim “Vote Sajith to sing national anthem in Arabic – Mujibur Rahman” is false. Via Factcrescendo

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